WILLOWWOOD IS ROCKIN’ MINISTRY
We don’t hear much about Bethel’s WillowWood preschool program. Because it is oriented toward people who do not attend Bethel Church, the ministry tends to run quietly in the background. Nevertheless, WillowWood is having a big impact, and I’m eager to tell you about it. Here are just a few highlights:
There is a full morning class consisting of 20 children ages three and four.
Many of these little ones are not from Christian homes and are learning about God for the first time.
Kim Dalmeijer, our WillowWood teacher, says: “At WillowWood we pray when we do circle time. We pray before we eat, and we pray to end our time together. In this way, we encourage a healthy routine of prayer and thanksgiving. This practice supports our aim to introduce children to the concept that God, our creator, made them.”
One WillowWood parent visited Bethel Church, and now attends regularly. She participated in last year’s Alpha Course.
Other parents have either visited Bethel or enquired about the church.
One family had been planning to move to the south side of Edmonton. They put off their move for a full year so their child could attend WillowWood.
The WillowWood staff are always seeking to connect parents with each other and with the church. Thelmè explains: “Some mornings we serve coffee and cookies for the parents. We also have a Facebook group where parents connect and share funny things about their kids—or make requests for help with drop off or pick up. We are also planning to create a space where parents can sit, chat and connect while their kids are in the preschool.”
There are just a few more openings in WillowWood. Bethel parents are welcome and encouraged to enroll their children.
Please pray for Our WillowWood teacher Kim Dalmaijer and assistant Lindsay Van Boom as they seek to guide the children in their relationship to God. Pray that God will move in the hearts of the children—and their parents—drawing them to Himself.
- Pastor Tom
Prayer And Work
When I think about my life with God over the last few years, I am discovering that I tend to move between emphasizing two realities. I pray and I work. I work and I pray.
“Ora Et Labora” is a Latin phrase that means “Prayer and Work.” This was the motto for several monastic communities throughout Church history. St. Benedict viewed prayer and work as partners that cooperate together to build God’s Kingdom here on earth. These communities of Christ followers emphasized both the need for a vibrant relationship with God, and also the need to roll-up their sleeves and get their hands dirty.
Today work and human effort get a lot of attention in our culture. When we talk about growing the church we may focus on building leadership systems that will work the most efficiently. We might talk about combining the best programs, the best preaching, and the best worship teams as a recipe for a vibrant church. Yet without the power of the Spirit all of our human efforts fall flat. We cannot save ourselves. Only the shed blood of Jesus makes us right with God. We cannot build the church ourselves. We need the Spirit of God to lead and empower us. Work alone will not do the trick.
On the other hand, it is possible to emphasize praying for the church and forget the work of the church. Prayer is a catalyst that naturally leads us to invest physically. Pray for any person and you will want to serve them. Pray for a church and you will want to get busy in it! Prayer is essential for any church and for building the Kingdom, but if we become overly contemplative we may miss the mission. Healthy prayer patterns lead us to work.
I am so thankful to be part of a church like Bethel, which is true to its name and has become a place of encounter and meeting with God. In addition to being a vibrant community of prayer, we are also obeying God and doing great work for His Kingdom. May we corporately and personally hold these two practices of prayer and work in balance with one another. To be the Glory!
WHY I’M “ALL IN”
As you are aware, the offering for the ALL IN Campaign will be taken next week, Sunday, October 21. I want to tell you why I am all in with ALL IN.
Planting a church is a missional sacrifice. We are stretching ourselves for God in a cause that is very close to His heart. When we give ourselves to God in this way, in accordance with His Will, there is always blessing and growth that comes from it.
Here are some of the specific things I am looking forward to:
The joy members of The Bridge Church will have when they see God using their sacrificial efforts to bring many to a saving knowledge of Christ.
The joy we will have when we hear of those lives being changed. The personal growth that will occur when people step up to fill newly opened volunteer positions and watch as God uses them in ways they never imagined.
For how we are all going to learn by experiences that we cannot out give God—that God’s blessings flow when we follow His lead into big steps of faith.
The blessing we will be able to pour into our local community if the offering (and I am confidently praying that it will) exceeds the $250,000 goal. (Three fourths of the above-goal gifts will be used in the Bannerman Community.)
Please pray that God will pour out his grace on October 21, and pray about the part you can play in this wonderful moving of his Spirit. –Pastor Tom
SEARCHING FOR A NEW PASTOR
You may be wondering how our search for a second pastor to replace Pastor Ryan is going. Let me bring you up to date.
Our Search Team, consisting of Jacquie Butlin, Caleb Koning, Marci Mast, Randall Huisman, and myself, has been working diligently for the past five months. Since the start of this year we have met about once every two weeks.
We are leaving no stone un-turned. We have placed ads to which we have received numerous responses. We continually scour the denomination’s database of pastors to find prospective candidates. We have sought out referrals, and we have invited some individuals to apply. (If YOU know of anyone you think would serve our church well, let our team know about it.)
While it is too early to be able to report anything specific, we remain quietly confident in the process. We serve an amazing God, and we know that in His time he will bring the right person on our path.
The watchwords for us now are patience and prayer. Patience because finding the right candidate is seldom a quick process— it’s important to trust God’s timing and not make a rash decision. Prayer, because God delights to use our prayers to accomplish His ends!
We are in the process of discovering God’s future together. It is exciting to be on this adventure with you. –Pastor Tom
Come here for news on what is happening in Bethel Church from our Pastors.